Friday, February 26, 2010

winter-the good, the bad & the snuggly

ok, i have to get this out right now- i hate summer. i hate the heat, the humidity, the bathing suits and the bugs. i do not hate winter. but i don't LOVE everything about it either.

what i do enjoy about the winter season is the cooler temps. i don't mind the cold as long as i am dressed appropriately and don't have to be outside too long! and i love the snow!

i like the bare, starkness of the trees; to see the black silhouettes against a late afternoon sky.

i like to keep my bird feeders full and watch the many birds from my cozy living room.

and speaking of cozy, i really like fleece blankets and fleece jackets! warm pajamas, warm slippers, mittens, scarves- i guess i just like the clothing of winter, too.

we enjoy all the soups and stews i make during the winter months. add a loaf of warm bread and it's a meal that can't be beat.

i love starting off my mornings with a big mug of hot coffee. i like hot tea and hot chocolate, as well. there's just something about a warm drink that is so comforting.

now what i don't like about winter is the darkness. all the gray, gloomy days really bring me down. i need SUN!

i don't like how the grass and flowers die off. everything becomes all one color- i hate that.

i don't like that bilbo has to leave the house in the cold and dark. i know i would hate that myself.

i don't like that i always seem to put on a few winter pounds. but then, i have too many opportunities to eat and not enough to exercise!

i have to say, the good outweighs the bad and after the winter, it's spring-YAY!

grateful that:
1. spring is coming
2. the sun is shining
3. t.willie will be potty-trained soon!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

attention readers!

tonight's post has been cancelled due to a headache. thank you........the hellhole staff

grateful for:
1. aspirin

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MILK- it does a body good?

here it is, the end of february. by now, most everyone's new years resolutions are shot all to hell. i know mine are. i had hoped this would be the year i finally ate right and got healthy. i have been trying! i've been doing all those things the experts tell us to do, such as:

1.) EXERCISE- i have heard a lot about the "wii" system and how great it is for families to get more exercise. well, we have a wii. it's connected to our t.v., we have the balance board and everything. i've done all the exhausting set up, but i have failed to lose even a pound! i don't understand it.

2.) DRINK MORE MILK- ok, this one was easy! i love milk! i have milk with my cookies. milk with my cake. milk with my candy bar. and ice cream has milk as well. but, again, i have failed to lose a pound! i'm stumped.

3.) EAT MORE FRUIT- again, an easy one, i love fruit. apples and peaches make great pies. i make sure to have mine with whipped cream, because cream is from milk and i know how important milk is. blueberries make a delicious cobbler, and served with vanilla ice cream, you are also getting that important calcium! but, once again, no weight lost.

4.) EAT CHOCOLATE- ok, call me crazy, but is this not the BEST thing to happen since sliced bread?! we are now given permission to eat chocolate- must get those antioxidants! i have dutifully eaten chocolate every day but i don't see any drop in my weight.

i have followed all this expert advice, yet there has been no improvement. in fact, i may have gained some weight, hard as that might be to believe! maybe i just haven't given it enough time. i 'll be patient and keep doing all the "right" things. surely i'll see a change by spring!

(please click on each image to be taken to wonderful etsy vintage shops)

grateful today for:
1. chocolate as an antioxidant
2. my sisters' ability for humor
3. t.willie did not suffer a concussion when he fell off the bed and conked his noggin!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

home cookin' 101

i consider myself to be a pretty good cook-NOW. when i got married, 27 years ago, i had very little experience beyond baking and microwaving. i remember calling my mom from our studio apartment in california to ask how to cook meat! oh, i could have gone without cooking or eating meat, but not bilbo!

there was some trial and error involved in those earlier days, let me tell ya! i don't remember details about my own mistakes but i do remember one time bilbo wanted to surprise me by making a pudding pie for dessert. he used chocolate pudding, my favorite! i was psyched, i piled a big bunch of whipped cream on top and dug in. the pudding was great, but as i chewed a bit more, i realized something was not right with the crust. then i figured out what it was. he had used a frozen pie crust and had not baked the crust first! i wanted to stop eating but i didn't want to hurt his feelings, so i took another bite. he must have figured it out at about the same time, 'cause he had a sheepish look on his face and said, "oh man!" we had a good laugh about it and eventually ate all the pudding out of the pie shell!

now, after many years of cooking, i still have some mishaps of my own. they are usually the result of a) being harried b) being distracted or c) all of the above and less a result of ignorance. more than once, or even more than twice, i have made a dish and forgotten an ingredient. and sometimes, it was the main ingredient- like the time i made tuna casserole and forgot the tuna! and another time, we sat down to a seasoned rice dish and we were wondering why it was so bland. well, wouldn't ya know, i forgot the seasoning mix! and another time, i used a jar of salsa in the spaghetti instead of sauce...zingy!!

then there are the times when the microwave is to blame. i have many a time pulled something out of the micro only to dump it on the floor! oh, and let's not forget ALL the times i have gotten up in the morning and found something in the microwave that i failed to serve at dinner the night before!

my most memorable kitchen mishap occurred years ago but it taught me an important lesson. i was baking something in a glass casserole dish. i looked in the oven to check on it, and thinking it looked dry, i decided to add some liquid. i filled a measuring cup with some water and poured it into the pan. the pan was sitting up on the stove and when the cold water hit the hot glass dish, it exploded!! tiny, sharp shards of glass went EVERYWHERE! after the scream and the heart attack, i realized that i had a small cut on my cheek and one on my shin. then it struck me that i could have been covered with shattered glass; hurt badly. i had to sit down, take a big breath and thank my guardian angel. well, that and re-plan dinner!

my hubby especially likes to remember the time i made chicken flambe'. it was the result of chicken fat hitting the heating element of the electric oven and bursting into flames! yeah, i had to re-plan dinner that night too!

my most recent cooking "fo pa" happened a couple weeks ago when i cooked a turkey. i have cooked turkey several times and i know to take the goodies out before i cook it. and i did this time too. i removed a big bag of "i don't wanna know" and also a turkey neck. i proceeded to stuff and roast the bird and then it was time for bilbo to do the carving. after he removed the stuffing and was well into the cutting, he said "oh man, you did it again!" and i turned to see him pulling another bag of goodies out of the turkey! i was really surprised, i mean, what was in there? turkey lips? elbows? knees? and apparently, i had done that before. oh well, we laughed and feasted anyway!

so, i guess it's a good thing i cook simple, basic food and don't try anything fancy or gourmet! although, i guess i could still learn a thing or two........

grateful that:
1. my family will eat anything
2. february only comes once a year
3. t.willie loves books

Monday, February 22, 2010

music to my ears

every mom wants her children to be healthy and happy. sometimes they are both, sometimes they are just one of the two. my oldest daughter, we will call her "kaye", is seldom either of the two. this breaks my heart and tears my gizzards up inside. of course, if she were healthier, she would presumably, be happier. i try to do what i can for her but i am not a doctor, nor do i play one on tv! so, it is always a thrill to me when i hear her sounding happy.
we are big fans of musicals- broadway, off-broadway, cumberland county playhouse or even disney! recently, on a trip to goodwill (not to be confused with a good will trip), kaye found a video of the musical "joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat." this is a long-standing family favorite and we couldn't wait to play it!
so that night, the fam gathered 'round to watch, donny osmond in the lead part of joseph. we all know the lyrics, we all sang along, we all enjoyed it immensely.
later, i decided to search for "joseph" songs online at , the online radio site. well, not only did i find those songs, but also other broadway musical songs and also many disney songs. when i heard kaye happily singing along, belting it out, i had to smile...real big! i had no idea she knew so many of the disney songs, her enthusiasm was contagious! i had to sing along too and so did t.willie, who, at 2, does not even know the words!
now, when i see that kaye is feeling down and unwell, i just casually turn on the joseph site i created on pandora, and her mood is sure to lift. just hearing her sing, is music to my ears.

oops! forgot to be grateful:
1. for digital cameras
2. winter is almost over
3. kids and dogs

Friday, February 19, 2010

tin roof alley

life here in the hellhole is full of surprises. today, for instance, our roof spontaneously started leaking! yeah, it was not raining, it was not snowing and had not been raining or snowing for several days. i went outside and looked at the roof. it is a fairly new red tin roof (about 5 years old, i think). there was no water on the roof at all. i even got up on a ladder and checked the gutters. i was thinking that maybe, if they were clogged and there was water stuck in there, it had somehow jumped up onto the roof! but there wasn't any water. it really had me stumped! where did the dripping water come from??
that got me thinking, we also have a bad ant problem, all the time, year round. i am constantly battling ants! so what i was thinking was, if the roof could spontaneously start leaking, then wouldn't it be cool if the ants could spontaneously combust?! like when the little suckers creep out from wherever it is that they originate, they just burst into flame and POOF! GONE!
man, the more i think about it, the more i like the idea! and ants are so tiny that it wouldn't take long and then nothing else would set fire, right?!
yeah......but then, with my luck, the roof would spontaneously start leaking and put 'em out and there they'd be, walking all over the counters again. sigh........

grateful today for:
1. very grateful the pic at the top is NOT my house!
2. my crocus's....croci? are blooming
3. it cracks me up when t.willie asks me to sing "barbara ann" as a bedtime lullaby!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

all the little women

have you seen the movie "little women" starring susan sarandon and winona ryder? at the beginning, the gals are gathering around the breakfast table and they are lamenting the hard times the family is experiencing. then each girl names an item they want for christmas, and amy says wistfully, "i'm desperate for drawing pencils." and shortly after when they begrudgingly give their breakfast away to that poor family, she says "i am a selfish girl."
well, after reading the amazing book "three cups of tea" by
greg mortenson, i, too, feel like a selfish girl. it is the unbelievable true tale of greg's adventure as an ex-mountain climber in pakistan. he falls down a steep mountain after helping to rescue another climber and ends up lost and exhausted in a remote village. his tale tells of how the village takes him in and nurses him back to health. after seeing the conditions of the children's "school"- a bare patch of ground, he promises to come back from america and build them a school. with no money, home or transportation, the challenges and hardships greg goes through to build that school makes me feel so lucky. he dedicates his life to the education of pakistani children- especially girls, the "little women."
go out today and get this book- from a library, a bookstore or someone's home book collection! you will appreciate what we have as americans, however selfish we may be! (oh, and rent "little women", also!)

grateful for:
1. flavored coffee
2. basset hound ears
3. t.willie's laugh

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

she calls

the youngest child of my loins, who i shall call "elle", is a writer. she writes and writes- all the time. everywhere. in notebooks, on receipt paper at work, on napkins, on whatever is at hand. so what i'm saying is...she writes! as a result of all this writing, she also THINKS a lot about writing. she thinks a lot about her stories- who, what, where, etc., etc. and as a result of all her thinking, i get some really interesting phone calls. a few years ago, she was heavily into the harry potter books. she was a fan and a fan-atic!! ya dig? although she loved j.k. rowling's writing and her books, elle decided it would be cool to write her OWN harry potter book, continuing the series. she had quite a good story started and it actually sounded a lot like rowling's books. but she had a lot of ideas that she needed help with. so, here are some examples of those interesting calls:

ring ring(pretending phones still sound like that)


she-i'm working on my book and i'm at the part where ron and harry are in potions class and so what i need is for you to come up with a good potion that harry would easily get mixed up and hermione could straighten out.

she-and also, can you think of any names that would be good for hermione to call malfoy and his friends?


or something like this:

ring ring


she-mom! i need you to come up with about three or four joke toys that fred and george might have in their shop.

me-um......ok, um.........

she-what might be a good name for a muggle who is part greek and part german?

me-hello, hello.....i can't hear you, you're breaking up..........


and more recently, she has been working on a story about these girls with super powers. so here is an example of one of the calls about that:

ring ring


she-so, ok, i've got five girls and they each have a different power corresponding to an earth element. i already have earth, air, fire and water. what can a super power be that corresponds with spirit? and i've made a time-line for each of their lives, but if someone was around in the 70's, would they still be blah blah blah some confusing question..............

yeah, the gal keeps me on my toes! and i do sometimes come up with an idea or two!
she is so imaginative, sometimes in a little world all her own! i really do believe she will be a published writer some day and when she does, i'll be right here, ready to answer the phone!

so grateful for:
1. daughters who are writers
2. daughters who make me a grandma
3. grandsons

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

the mouse-capades

last fall, we had a mouse problem. every time i went out to get the pet food, there were mice snacking and playing in it. and not just your every day, yucky, dirty mice. these were the cutest little bitty mice i had ever seen! and there were always more than one at a time. in the past, when i would see one, it would be all alone- snacking and playing by itself.
so here were these darling little mouse babies and i still had to feed my dog and cats. of course, i was not going to stick my hand in there, no matter how cute they looked terrified, staring up at me!
here was a job for hubby!!! i told him i didn't want to hurt the mice, just get them out of there. so after giving it a minute of thought, he went and got the hose from the shop vac. he stuck one end into the dog food bin and the other outside on the ground. it took a very short time, but then , as we watched, here came three mice up through the tube, looking quite happy to be out! how simple was that?!! the man is a genius!!!
click on image to be taken to my sister's etsy shop
so, i was remembering the mouse episode when i came across this video.
follow the link and enjoy!

i am grateful for:
1. bilbo's ingenuity
2. cheese
3. t.willie took a THREE hour nap today! yay!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

ode to a two year old

it has been a trying last two days, since the dear boy has chosen not to nap.
tonight, i am inspired to write a poem. here goes:

i think that i shall never see
this little boy live to be three

if tomorrow, he does not take a nap
i might be inclined to give him a slap...

nah! too harsh! let me try again...

there once was a boy from nantucket...
no, no...wait, i'm thinking...

um...... ok, i know

But sweet, what brat through my nerves he breaks?
It is my sanity, and t.willie is the son.

Arise, fair son, and sleep when next it's noon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou, his gammie, art far more gone than he.

huh, huh? not bad, eh?!
here's another:

my nerves are frazzled
i'm out of my head
i've had enough
i'm off to bed

good night :)

tonight, grateful for:
1. spice gum drops
2. daughter #1 and her addiction to disney musicals
3. the absolute cutenosity ( i just made that term up!) of naughty two year olds

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lovely things I love lovingly

As you may know, valentine’s day is in two days. I don’t usually do much to celebrate it. I generally give my hunny, (who I will refer to as Bilbo baggins or BB for short) a small stuffed animal as a token of my love and esteem. And maybe, if I am feeling particularly energetic, I will make some sort of valentine’s day dinner. But that is about it. So in honor of this v-day, I am going to make a list of some of the things I love. So, here goes:

Snow-unless I have to drive in it


Purple-all shades




Animals-despite all reason not to! (see feb. 8th post)




The beach

My family-also despite all reason not to! KIDDING!

Steve martin-incidentally, had I not married Bilbo, I would have married steve, just thought you’d like to know

Musicals-just TRY to keep me from singing along, I dare ya!

Books and magazines

Ironing- my mother brainwashed me so she wouldn’t have to do it!

Birds- I love watching them at my feeders

That’s enough, I guess….happy valentine’s day and may you be with the ones you love, doing the things you love!

Grateful today for:

1. shake n bake for pork chops-oh yeah, I love me some pork, baby!

2. my dentist appointment was postponed

3. t.willie calls me “gams”!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A real Wash-out

so, ok, if you’ve been following along, (and surely you can follow three days worth of posts!), you will know of our water/drainage problems. Not only are our sink drains affected, but so are the washer and the toilet (which is another story for another time!).With all the rain in the last couple weeks, I have not been able to do much laundry. I know, it breaks yer heart! As a result, a very large, scary pile has been forming in my laundry room and today I was finally able to start tackling it. This got me to thinking about the sad state of my laundry apparatus and also about the contest I have been taking part in daily. It is sponsored by Frigidaire and Save the Children. Every day you log in and click, $1 is donated to Save the Children and you are entered to win a daily prize and the grand prize of a beautiful, shiny, new, grade-A, topoftheline, super dee duper Frigidaire Affinity washer and dryer!!!! Go to . sign up and enter and if you win, I’ll kill ya!!! Hahaha I jest! No, I mean it! Really, I’ll kill ya!!! So….GOOD LUCK!!

grateful today for:

1. modern conveniences, however old and broken down they are

2. music to dance to

3. long-playing children's movies

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

Snow today! Light, fluffy snow! No household disasters, just a beautiful snowy day! Woke up to snow and thought it would be a good day to just stay home and be cozy. But t.willie had other ideas. “go town, gammie”, “go bye bye, gammie” . he kept nagging until I gave in. (he is JUST like his mother- relentless!) I figured we’d check out our hair gal, see if she could fit us in and then go over to the eye doc and order new glasses, which I’ve been needing. So, we did that, carol-the-beautician was off today, so no haircuts. But I did order new goggles. We came back home, had lunch and YAY, it was naptime!!!!

So, all in all, just a quiet, boring day without any disgusting pet tricks or natural home disasters…..a beautiful day in MY neighborhood!

Today I am grateful for:

1. SNOW!

2. a couple quiet hours to myself

3.t.willie's giggle

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My sink runneth over OR taking the plunge

Rain, rain and more rain! Oh, and if it’s not rain, it’s snow! Here at the hellhole, we have a serious drainage problem. Our yard lies in a low area and that, coupled with the SERIOUSLY poor septic tank installation means we got us some bad drain mojo!! So, while cleaning up the pots and hand washable things today, I had to stop and wait at intervals while the sink emptied. Then, I had the ridiculous idea to turn on the dishwasher to get the rest of the dishes clean. I put the soap in, turn it on and leave the room. After the initial wash cycle, I hear the dishy ( my pet name for the dishwasher)start to rinse and drain. I hear the scary sound of water backing up the drain, choking and gurgling back up into the sinks!!! I run into the kitchen and pull the handle of the dishy to temporarily stop it and take out my handy dandy sink plunger. Yes, for years I needed a sink plunger, wished I had a sink plunger, shoulda had a sink plunger but, unfortunately, did not! Well, I take my pet sink plunger and stop up the left side sink and plunge at the right side. Some of the hot disgusting water goes down. I plunge some more, more goes down. It takes four separate plunges but all the water is gone. I turn the dishy on again, keeping my ear cocked for the next rinse cycle. A few minutes later, I hear it-the strangled sound of the sink backing up. Run into the kitchen, and repeat the whole plunging scene again! it's a glamorous life i live...

today i am grateful for:

1. the invention of the sink plunger

2. a good working heating unit on a cold rainy day

3. two year olds who actually ENJOY matching socks......YES!!!!!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

why "hellhole" you ask??

So, ok, here is a day in the life of me:

Get up, go into hallway toward bathroom. Immediately notice two fresh spots that look suspiciously like cat puke. Ah! It IS cat puke. Great! So then, I go into the bathroom and almost step into a fresh pile of cat POOP! WHY ME???? I scoop it up with t.p. and dump it into the toilet (yes, I know that cat doo-doo is a no-no for the septic system, but do ya blame me??!) so then I use a disinfecting wipe to clean the floor. I go back out into the hallway and clean that mess up with paper towels, then use a brush, soap and water. All this and I still haven’t gotten to pee yet!! I do THAT and wash my hands REAL good!

Now I go into the kitchen and am greeted by the dog and the retarded cat. I am putting my shoes on to take the dog out but realize I am hearing what sounds suspiciously like a dog barfing. (yes, cats puke, dogs barf!) so I race toward him, pleading for him not to mess the carpet, but to move onto the tile floor. I tug on his collar and get him to the tile WHILE he is barfing. LOVELY, I hear you say! Yeah, so I drag him out to his tie-out chain and go back inside. The mess is waiting for me and as I am cussing under my breath and considering a good cry, I hear my two year old grandson calling me. All this, and I have only been up for 15 minutes! Welcome to the HELLHOLE friends!

today's gratitude list:

1. grateful for the roof over my head

2. grateful for the retarded cat and dog

3. grateful for my grandson, who shall be known henceforth as "t.willie"